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Chores: Cleaning Gutters . . . Again

Looking out my window and watching those oak leaves coming down made me smile, realizing that the season is definitely changing. Those leaves have really been coming down at my house lately and I knew that I needed to take a peek at my gutters to see if I needed to clean them out . . . again. I invite you to look over my shoulder as I work on this chore.

Looking out my window and watching those oak leaves coming down made me smile, realizing that the season is definitely changing. Those leaves have really been coming down at my house lately and I knew that I needed to take a peek at my gutters to see if I needed to clean them out . . . again. I invite you to look over my shoulder as I work on this chore.

I got my trusty ladder out, making sure its legs were on solid ground. I don’t like to lean the ladder against the gutter because it is so easy to dent the gutter if you do that.

Cleaning Gutters2Well, they aren’t too bad, but can definitely use some cleaning. Believe it or not, I cleaned them out about three weeks ago. If the leaves are dry, the easiest way for me to get them out my single-story house gutters is to use the leaf blower.

I just position the leaf blower spout so that it is blowing into the gutter and walk on the ground alongside the gutter, moving the debris to the end of the gutter and out of it.

I am careful to not lean the leaf blower on the gutter because weight on the gutter can dent or sag it. I also try to not blow this dust back at me and into my eyes.

Cleaning Gutters4

I also clean out other places on the roof where leaves collect such as overhangs and eaves.

While I walked down the gutters with the leaf blower, I inspected them to see if there are any problems such as popped nails.

If the debris in the gutters is dry, the leaf blower pretty much gets it out. If it is wet, it is another story and it takes a completely different technique to clean them out, requiring gloves, because as I remove leaves and debris from the gutter by hand that the leaf blower didn’t get, you can sometimes get a surprise from something sharp or a bee or spider. I’m speaking from experience.

If quite a bit of sediment has accumulated, I like to get the hose out and lightly squirt it down. I then scoop out the debris by hand. I just throw it down below me and clean it up later, but I suppose you could collect it in a bucket if you wanted to.

Cleaning Gutters5

Since I have the hose out, I put it in the opening of the downspout to make sure that there aren’t any clogs in it. I lucked out today, but have had to use a snake in the past and even had to dismantle the downspout once to get the clog cleared.

Cleaning Gutters6My final step is to get the hammer out and work on a couple of popped nails that I spotted, making sure that the point of the nail is repositioned back into its original hole and the nail brace is correctly in place before nailing it.

The gutter cleaning job is done . . . at least for a while, until more leaves come down. My gutters are pretty easy to clean because it is a single story house. If your gutters are higher, you may need to have a professional clean them.

Perhaps I have inspired you to take a look at your gutters. Regularly cleaning your gutters is an important maintenance item related to your home. While it is still dry outside, the first reason to do it that comes to my mind is the fire danger. It is so easy for a spark to land on those dry leaves in your gutters and eaves, getting a foothold and burning your home down.

If your gutters are not cleaned regularly, the debris can build up in them and believe it or not, critters such as mice and birds, can build nests in them.

If your gutters are not flowing correctly when it is raining, it can lead to damage such as rotten wood or drainage problems.

Although it isn’t the funnest job around the house, it can be one of the easiest to prevent more costly problems down the road.

About Candace Gregory

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the timely tips. We probably need to take a look and action this week. The leaves are really falling.

  2. I’m totally with you, every time I see leaves falling it makes me smile, but I immediately think about my gutters. I really like what you said about not leaning the ladder on the gutters as you clean them! I’ve never really paid attention to how easy they are to dent. I’ll have to pay attention and try and avoid denting mine next time I clean them! I also really like your idea of using a leaf blower. I usually just pick out the leaves by hand, and I bet a leaf blower would speed up the process quite a bit!

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